Three ways to fight the flu

Flu season is starting to hit hard, but it's not too late to prevent infection

2016fluseasonEven as this year’s influenza (flu) virus reaches its peak, there are still ways to lessen your chances of getting sick and — if you’ve already got it — reduces chances of spreading the flu to someone else. Here are three easy tips for fighting the flu:

Get a flu shot

It’s not too late to get a flu shot. Scheduling an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu and prevent spreading the infection. The CDC suggests everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year.

Protect yourself and prevent the spread of flu

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and cover your mouth for coughs and sneezes. It’s also wise to avoid contact with sick people, as well as avoid sharing food, drink or utensils with anyone.

If you’re sick, avoid close contact with people

If you become sick with a flu-like illness, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol.

Children younger than 2 years old, adults 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions can be at higher risk for complications due to flu and should seek medical attention. Prompt treatment can mean the difference between having a mild illness versus something more serious.

Good to know

Help your kids adjust to a parent’s cancer diagnosis

Families facing cancerBecause cancer affects everyone in a family, the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center now offers Families Facing Cancer, a program dedicated to helping children of all ages to cope with a parent’s cancer diagnosis, or that of another other adult family member. The program is funded through the generosity of donors.

“Fear of the unknown is a concern for patients and their children,” says Program Coordinator Sheila Morris, a childlife specialist from Patient and Family Support Services.

For patients who are parents or grandparents, the program has a resource kit for talking with children and aged-based activity books. Kits are available at the Cancer Center’s Patient Education Resource Center.

Children also participate in a fun art activity with beads and receive special recognitions.

Read more about Families Facing Cancer in the summer issue of All in the Family.

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Thrive magazine is a quarterly publication of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, offering inspirational patient stories, news and information on programs and services, tips on coping and living with cancer and more. Find Thrive in the Cancer Center or online.

 

CCC 25 years button150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan for cancer patient care. Seventeen multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.

Best in distractions: at the movies

Almost nothing beats a good movie as a way to distract and de-stress. Whether you’re drawn to suspense, science fiction, giggles and laughs, or music, there are plenty of movies and DVDs to choose from. As part of our on-going series on the best in distractions, our Facebook friends have made these recommendations:BestinMovies

Hamid: Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, even after all these years

Sarah: The Great Outdoors provided the laughter to help ease tough times

Here are some other recommendations:

Bourne Identity (a series of four, so far)

Block Party

Bringing Up Baby

Election Continue reading

Fight Holiday Bulge with Exercise

The holidays are a wonderful time of year with great food, parties and lots of family and friends. But these celebrations make fitting fitness in difficult and often result in calorie overload. Depending on how long of a break you took from exercising, you probably have lost stamina and strength and will not be able to return to your usual workout routine without some adjustments. Here are suggestions to help you get back on track without getting discouraged.

Make a date:

The key to success is making exercise a routine, scheduled commitment. Designate certain days and times to exercise and pencil it in on your calendar. Plan ahead to make sure nothing gets in the way of that commitment such as packing your gym bag with everything you need and put it in the car the night before so you have no excuse to go right after work. Continue reading

Facing Cancer While Living Alone

People with cancer who live alone face a lot of unique challenges, whether it’s keeping your spirits up, getting chores done, or meeting with your medical team. Most of the time, friends want to offer assistance in some way, and there are people and services in the community who can help. Here are some tips that can help remedy any sense of isolation, which commonly occurs for people with cancer who live in a household of one:

Network: reach out to friends, acquaintances, members of your community of faith, and co-workers. People often are willing to lend a hand if they know you need it. Give them options, depending on your level of comfort, for how they can get involved.

Reach out to community organizations: Local non-profit and religious organizations may offer assistance. In particular, the American Cancer Society, United Way and Area Agencies on Aging may be able to connect you with volunteers to help with transportation, shopping, housekeeping, meals and companionship in difficult times.

Use the Web: Several online tools are available to help you share your story with friends and family—and inspire them to contribute everything from kind words to a Sunday casserole to a case of nutritional drinks. These include CarePages.com, which offers free space to post updates on your condition; here’s how it works. Another useful tool, LotsaHelpingHands.com, offers ways to solicit and organize help. Also consider setting up a wish list via Amazon.com to let people know what supplies you need, even if they aren’t offered for sale by Amazon.

Bring a tape recorder: If you don’t feel comfortable inviting a friend to your medical appointments, bring a tape recorder to help you remember what your doctor says. You can listen to these conversations again later if questions pop up. You can also ask your doctor to mail you a copy of the clinical notes after each visit.

Get support: No matter how independent you are, it’s important to have an emotional outlet during these difficult times. Make regular phone calls to catch up with friends socially. And consider talking with a therapist, counselor, member of the clergy or spiritual care provider.

You can find more tips about coping here.

8 tips for stress-free holidays

stress-free holidays

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, the holiday scramble can be daunting even under the best of circumstances. But people coping with cancer face different stresses. Here are some tips from patients, parents, survivors and social workers at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center on how to make the best of the season and enjoy stress-free holidays. Continue reading